SHANGHAI: China’s commercial hub of Shanghai will lock down millions of people for mass COVID-19 testing this weekend – just 10 days after lifting its gruelling two-month lockdown – unsettling residents and raising concerns about the business impact.
Racing to stop a wider outbreak after discovering a handful of community cases, including a cluster traced to a popular beauty salon, authorities have ordered PCR testing for all residents in 14 of Shanghai’s 16 districts over the weekend.
Five of the districts said residents would not be allowed to leave their homes while the testing was carried out.
A notice issued by Changning district described the stay-home requirement as “closed management” of the community being sampled.
The latest scare triggered a rush to grocery stores and online platforms to stock up on food, as users of China’s Twitter-like Weibo expressed fear they could be locked down for longer, having only started going back to work after the last lockdown was lifted on Jun 1.
Some areas had remained sealed off or quickly returned to lockdown due to infections and their close contacts.
“The residential compound next to mine has already been locked down,” said Zhang Jian, a 34 year old real estate agent.
“If there is a mass testing and there is another positive case in the compound, it will have a serious impact on our lives.”